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“Insight for the Young and Unrestrained” is an original column appearing every Thursday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Gregory V. Diehl. Gregory is a writer, musician, educator, and coach for young people at EnabledYouth.com. Archived columns can be found here. IYU-only RSS feed available here.
Throughout human history, the family has been the basic unit of society. It is my firm belief that altering the way families interact, and the way that children are raised and educated will create long-term ripple effects which may ultimately change the fabric of societies and nations as we have always known them.
You don’t have to be a parent or an expert on the biological aspects of human development to know that there is a human nature inherent to us all. We all have certain needs that must be fulfilled during our childhood and teenage years – needs that if left neglected can cause irreparable harm for the remainder of our adult lives. The introduction of positive parenting techniques to places where they are unfamiliar is the surest path to improving the whole of society.
Parenting styles popular in different parts of the world have very clear correlations to the personality traits the adults in the area eventually come to embody. Cultures which encourage parents not to physically interact with their children and to treat them as pieces of property are made up of adults who are emotionally disconnected from each other and have no real sense of self-worth. Countries which emphasize the swearing of allegiance to something large, external, and incomprehensible to the mind of a child are inhabited by adults with no real sense of direction – and no personal ambition to act upon.
Children who are forced to learn what other people consider important develop into adults who abhor education and following their own values. Girls who are abandoned or mistreated by their fathers either seek meaningless sex and abuse from men to fill the void or may remain estranged from men altogether. All of these personal problems can be avoided and healthy balanced adulthood achieved if only we, the adults currently inhabiting the world, have the courage and perspective to recognize how our own flaws prevent us from being the best possible mentors and raising healthy children.
If we lack this introspection, it is inevitable that we will go on to repeat the mistakes that were done to us when we were younger. We are doomed to stay stuck in this endless loop until either enough adults take it upon themselves to change the way they rear their children or our species forever destroys itself. Better parenting is the seed which eventually stems into every aspect of a better world.
Everywhere I go, I find individuals who stick out above and beyond what their cultures demand of them. Many of the most important thinkers throughout history have been the weirdos and outcasts. It is my long-term mission in life to ensure that there are always avenues available to the gifted and unusual young people growing up in this ever-changing world. I want to help the world move into a more prosperous direction.
This includes healthier alternative education options that most mainstream public and private schools cannot apply. It includes reintroducing a deep and permeating emotional connection between parents and children that is lacking in the world. It includes helping hardened adults reach the level of personal vulnerability necessary to bridge the gaps that exist between them and their kids. It includes incorporating peaceful forms of positive child discipline that do not require physical violence or demeaning behavior towards children.
Though every culture in the world embraces different styles of parenting, raising healthy children is entirely a natural process. Some of my most cherished memories and experiences are the younger children and teens I’ve garnered friendships and mentoring relationships with – and nothing brings me greater joy than helping these kinds of people blossom into their highest potential.
There was a time when I thought it would be enough to fix the human race if we could just create enough positive role models and educations centers for children around the world. But the solution has to go so much deeper than that. The only sustainable solution to the majority of humanity’s problems is to implement a new family model which enables children to become the best possible versions of themselves by catering to their most fundamental biological and psychological needs.
Society cannot provide this for your children. Friends and mentors can only do so much. It’s primarily up to parents to create this new kind of culture at home, and I hope to do everything I can in my time to spread this message and emotional awareness to those who are ready to take the next step toward peaceful and progressive parenting.
After witnessing how so many children are damaged in their upbringing around the world, I learned to overcome the damage done to me in my own youth. I also came to realize that there was nothing I cared more about than fixing the way the world raises its children, which in turn determines the adults they inevitably grow into. So I resolved to become the kind of man who could interact naturally and fluidly with children, and return back to the natural and intuitive child-rearing tactics hardwired into all of us.
It is my hope to continue to hone my skills, knowledge, and abilities as someone capable of recognizing the recurring problems in the lives of the people I encounter and providing the intellectual and emotional inputs necessary to instigate and encourage healthy parental support. I don’t claim to be a parenting expert (such a thing is, frankly, impossible in my opinion) but I know I hold the capacity for observation, empathy, and communication with the adults, teenagers, and children I encounter, and that I can use these as a force for progress in the world.